Two Republicans from South Florida are calling for an investigation into Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s recent trip to Cuba. Jay-Z and Beyoncé were photographed in Cuba during a trip to the island nation last week, to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana.
Republican representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of the 27th Congressional District and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of the 25th Congressional District, are calling on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control to investigate the trip.
Cuba is currently the subject of an economic embargo by the United States, and its citizens are only allowed to travel to the country with special permission.
The pair sent a letter to Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, requesting information on the type of license that Jay-Z and Beyoncé received to travel to Cuba.
“Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda ” the pair said in the letter to Adam Szubin. “We represent a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents.”
Check out the full copy of the letter below:
The Honorable Adam J. Szubin
Office of Foreign Assets Control
Department of Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Director Szubin:
We write to express concern and to request information regarding the highly publicized trip by U.S. musicians Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Beyoncé) and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) to Cuba. We would like to respectfully request, within all applicable rules and guidelines, information regarding the type of license that Beyoncé and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.
As you know, U.S. law expressly prohibits the licensing of financial transactions for “tourist activities” in Cuba (Section 910(b)(1) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act). If these individuals were given people-to-people licenses, we would like to bring to your attention the Cuba Travel Advisory issued by OFAC on July 25, 2011 which states, “OFAC only licenses People-to-People Groups that certify that all participants will have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.” These restrictions are in place because the Cuban dictatorship is one of four U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism with one of the world’s most egregious human rights records. Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people.
Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda. We represent a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents. The restrictions on tourism travel are common-sense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly, and belief. We support the Cuban people by refusing to sustain their jailers.